Ironworkers (structural/ornamental) install and reinforce structural/ornamental steel components, precast structural concrete members and glued laminated timber products (glulam) in commercial, industrial, institutional and large residential buildings, towers, bridges and stadiums. They erect pre-engineered buildings and ornamental ironwork such as curtain walls, metal stairways, catwalks, railings and metal doors. They also erect scaffolding, cranes, hoists and derricks on the construction site. Ironworkers (structural/ornamental) also install conveyors, machinery and automated material handling systems. They are also involved in demolition and salvage duties involving all types of construction.
They prepare the construction site by assembling the hoisting equipment. They unload structural and ornamental components and organize the material for hoisting as needed. They organize the hoisting of the components by connecting cables and slings to the components and directing crane operators. They position, align and secure components according to blueprints using a variety of fastening methods. Ironworkers (structural/ornamental) generally work outside in all weather, although some work indoors in manufacturing plants. They generally travel to and from the work site which may be in a variety of locations ranging from remote areas where they could be working on dams, bridges or mining projects to urban environments where they could work on high rise buildings or stadiums. The work often requires considerable standing, bending, crawling, lifting, climbing, pulling and reaching, and is often conducted in cramped, confined spaces or at heights. Hazards include injury from falls or falling objects. Ironworkers (structural/ornamental) typically work a 40-hour week; however, inclement weather such as rain, snow or high winds may shut down projects for extended periods and deadlines and priorities may involve overtime.
They are required to have good mechanical aptitude, the ability to lift heavy objects, the ability to maintain balance working at heights in varying extreme climates, a thorough knowledge of the principles of lifting, rigging and hoisting, and a familiarity with a variety of metal fastening and joining methods. They are all required to be competent in the use and care of a variety of hand and power tools and equipment such as wrenches, pry bars, torches, levelling and welding equipment. They also use crane charts and must be able to estimate and reconcile crane ability with load sizes. Because of the nature of the work, a primary concern of ironworkers (structural/ornamental) is workplace safety; therefore ironworkers (structural/ornamental) must be thoroughly familiar with the applicable sections of local, provincial and federal building and safety standards.
Ironworkers (structural/ornamental) tend to work in teams and team coordination is a large component of the occupation especially when hoisting and placing large, heavy components high above the ground. Ironworkers (structural/ornamental) interact and work cooperatively with a wide variety of construction tradespeople such as ironworkers (reinforcing), crane operators, welders, carpenters, metal fabricators and millwrights.
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